(Cincinnati) -- Construction is now underway on Phase II of the Banks project from Rosa Parks to Race Street and between Freedom Way and Second Street.

The newest phase will include almost 300 apartments and 20,000 thousand square feet of retail space.

The owner of the Cincinnati Reds says the Banks had become a symbol of the community's inability to get things done.  But, Bob Castellini says that's changed;  He says today, there's a waiting list for apartments, the restaurants are packed, and on game days, "the Banks are a sea of Red".  He says with the start of work on Phase 2, the City has a good shot at landing a headquarters for General Electric.  The company, in April, announced they would local a global operations center, with 2,000 jobs, somewhere in the Tri-State.

Castellini says it will take more hard work and cooperation between the City, the County and the developers, to win GE, and finish the Banks.

Commission President Chris Monzel says using tax dollars to build part of the Banks was worth it.  Monzel says the $75 million public investment in Phase 1 led to more than $85 million in private capital, and he says the return on the investment is expected to be 7 to 1.   

The entire project is set to be complete in 2020.